I wasn’t born when JFK was assassinated. I was too young on many days that most will say they remember where they were when something happened. I hoped I would never have a day to remember where I was. But I remember 9/11. I woke up to a beautiful day in Los Angeles–the clearest skies and birds singing. That was not the L.A. I knew. I got in my car and went to pick up my paycheck at Universal Studios. There was no music on the radio. The 101 Freeway was empty. That was not the L.A. I knew. I arrived at the City Walk that so often is packed with employees on their way to work and tourists taking pictures. It was empty from the shops to the wardrobe department and down to Jurassic Park. That was not the L.A. I knew.
I got back in my car and returned to my apartment where my friend that lived three floors below me ran over to me and told me to turn on KTLA–there was something I needed to see. The radio was talking about something I could not understand because I had come into the middle of the story. We entered my apartment and turned on the television to see something I would expect out of an action film. I almost thought it was a movie until I realized two planes hit the Twin Towers in New York, one hit the Pentagon and another crashed into an empty field.
I didn’t want to remember where I was on any day, but like grandparents, parents and older siblings, I have a day like that now. I know where I was on September 11, 2001–just 8 days after my birthday. That day made me forget all that I knew before–what I did, how much I accomplished in my 4 1/2 years in Hollywood. It stole lives and memories. It changed the world and all in it.
It was a clear day in Southern California. I heard birds chirping beneath the Hollywood Sign. You could hear the waves break off the Santa Monica Pier. There were no traffic jams. No one was rushing to get to an audition or a shoot. There were no film sets blocking Sunset Boulevard down by Tower Records. It was the day Hollywood stood still. Time stopped on that day and land of dreams became a nightmare. That was not the L.A. I knew.
SoCal actors that often mocked New York’s Theatrical community felt the pain of Broadway. Their fellow performers were in mourning. That was the L.A. I knew–reaching out to their community on stage or screen to give hope that one day we both will rise again and we were not defeated. We would dream again.
30 Days has September, but the 11th became the only one for 15 years. Someone had the callousness to say “Happy 9/11” on Facebook. I knew this day was coming again–it was L.A. all over again 15 years later–though I live 2000 miles away. I lost much and gave up more and still others suffered far more than I have. I feel for them to this day and always. It has taken 15 years for me to find my way again. Still there is no peace and I couldn’t sleep last night–angry because I could not remember one day before 9/11. Who was I before that day returns to me in blurry visions–who did I meet or what I was about to become? I realized death is not the only thing that extinguishes life. Life is what was going on before that day began and everyone around the globe lost a life in some capacity. There was not one creature on this earth that did not die that day. People died. Humanity died. Dreams died. The air failed to breathe.
Today I have my day I remember where I was when something happened. Of all the things we could remember where we were on a day, why is it always tragedy that stands out far more than good things? I hope it gets better–I hope the world gets better. It’s been 15 years that seems like 15 days. I was in L.A. when it stood still; it was not the L.A. I knew.
I want to dream again.